Somewhere on A1A...

Thursday, July 25, 2002

Well a debate is beginning, though I'm skeptical of its value. NZ Bear is asking whether we should take responsibility for our actions when mistakes like this are made. To me it's a no brainer, we are ALL rewsponsible for our actions, but I don't think blame and responsibility are the same. I think the argument becomes semantic and subject to individual feelings of what taking responsibility means. It seems a bit idealistic to me and I’m looking for a debate on the realities. What will we DO when faced with tough situations?

The Bear does pose a question that would serve to frame the type of debate I'd like to see.

Suppose this same terrorist was cornered in a back alley by IDF troops. But somehow, he managed to grab a small child, and is holding that child up as a shield.

Clearly, he has placed the child in danger. Clearly, he is exploiting the child and the IDF's squeamishness.
What action is justified? How much risk to the child is acceptable? Any? What information is needed to make a sound decision? Bear makes a wild leap by saying, "But if I follow the logic you and others seems to be advocating, it seems to say that the IDF should go ahead and open fire on full automatic. Because the terrorist made the choice to place the innocent child in danger, the IDF would bear no responsibility for its death."

First of all the responsibility argument becomes merely semantic. Secondly, "full automatic" is not the only option.

In this situation, what information is needed to make a sound decision? When the US is faced with similar circumstances, how will we decide? What do we, as a society think is the correct way to act?

It appears to me that a knowledge of the options available and the technological capability of the available weapons is essential. Judgment on the possible outcomes need to be made. Is there time to do the analysis? What level of authority must the decision maker be from? How clear are the Rules of Engagement? How valuable is the target? Can the risk to the innocent be calculated? What level of risk is acceptable? How do circumstances change that acceptable level of risk?

There isn’t necessarily a correct answer to any particular scenario, but I do believe there is a correct method to come to a decision to act. What are the questions you want answered before decisions like this are made?


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